A Democratic state elector for the state of Washington has declared that if his party’s nominee, Hillary Clinton, wins his home state, he will not cast his electoral vote for her.
Robert Satiacum, a member of the Puyallup tribe, is one of 12 Democratic electors who will cast votes in the electoral college for president if Mrs. Clinton wins the state of Washington this Tuesday. Democrats have won the Pacific northwest state in every election since 1988, and polls show Clinton with a commanding lead.
But Satiacum says he cannot back the former Secretary of State, calling Clinton a “criminal”.
“She will not get my vote, period,” he told the Associated Press.
A Bernie Sanders supporter, Satiacum said Clinton was out of touch with the needs of people in Washington.
“She doesn’t care about my land or my air or my fire or my water.”
Occasionally, state electors – the 538 representatives of the 50 states plus Washington DC charged with actually choosing the president – disregard their state’s vote and become “faithless electors”.
In all states except for Nebraska and Maine, electors are distributed on a winner-take-all basis. Whichever candidate reaches an absolute majority (270) of the 538 electors wins the presidency, regardless of the nationwide popular vote. If no candidate nets 270 electors, the House of Representatives chooses the president, with each state delegation receiving one vote.
Sometimes electors become “faithless” by accident, as in 2004 when a Democratic elector for Minnesota accidently cast a ballot for Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry’s running mate, John Edwards, and misspelled his name, writing in “John Ewards”.
While no faithless electors have ever swayed the results of an election, Satiacum hopes his vote will keep Clinton out of the White House.
“I hope it comes down to a swing vote and it’s me,” he said in an interview with The Seattle Times. “She ain’t getting it. Maybe it’ll wake this country up.”
The odds of Satiacum’s vote altering the election are slim – but not impossible. According to the latest prediction by the FiveThirtyEight election analysis site, Donald Trump leads in states containing 265 electoral votes, plus Maine’s second congressional district, yielding a total of 266 electors.
A marginal shift in battleground states could create a 269-269 tie, in which case Satiacum’s vote could hand the election to Trump. Or, if Satiacum’s vote could throw the election the Republican House of Representatives if Clinton wins just 270 electors.
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